Bell pepper is one of the most common ingredients in any kitchen and is used in salads, steamed dishes and many more. In addition to it being tasty and multi-purposeful, sweet peppers have various health benefits that contribute to the overall health of the body, so it is recommended to eat and consume as much as possible. So that you can learn a bit more about this sweet vegetable, the following short guide will help you distinguish between different bell peppers, and then you can read about its 10 wonderful health benefits.
Have you ever wondered what the actual difference is between red, green and yellow peppers, beyond their different colors? So first, it is important to know that all peppers come from the same source, which is divided into several different species. The difference in color, taste and nutritional value stems both from their species and from the time of harvesting and ripening.
The green pepper is harvested shortly after its germination, in the initial ripening stages, and therefore tastes sourer than the other peppers, which are sweet. The red pepper, on the other hand, is harvested in the final stage of ripening and therefore is sweeter and juicier. Yellow peppers are picked in the intermediate stage of ripening, and are therefore sweeter than green peppers, but not red ones.
There are even differences in their nutritional value and even though all are healthy, nutritious and chock full of vitamins, the green pepper is known to be richer in vitamins C and A, while the red pepper is even richer in the antioxidant lycopene.
The percentage of fat and calories in pepper is very low; one cup of chopped pepper has no more than 30-40 calories and no more than one gram of fat. In addition, a recent study found that one of the substances found in pepper (CH-19 Sweet) helps the body prevent the development of small fat cells into developed cells, which helps prevent obesity. These ingredients make peppers an essential and vital ingredient in any weight loss diet, or as part of a healthy and balanced daily diet.
Pepper contains over 30 different types of carotenoids, a group of organic pigments found mainly in plants, which contribute to the health of the body and eye health in particular. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that are found in quite high quantities in sweet peppers and help the body protect the retina and the inner part of the eye from oxidative damage.
In a study published in 2013, researchers found that consumption of vegetables containing these substances significantly reduced the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, so adding pepper to your meal regularly would significantly reduce the risk of these and other visual problems.
The active ingredients in pepper, such as carotenoids, can be a significant factor in preventing various types of cancer. The risk of cancer is increased by chronic infections and various body-borne oxidants, such as free radicals, but various substances that develop within the pepper during ripening contribute to a reduced risk of cancer because they can neutralize and restrain the effect of these free radicals on our bodies.
For example, a study published in 2006 found that capsaicin, an organic compound found naturally within peppers, inhibits and prevents the development of cancer cells that cause prostate cancer.
One cup of chopped red pepper has 157% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The large amount of vitamin C in all different peppers makes them particularly effective in preventing infections and diseases, and significantly helps to maintain a healthy immune system and provide collagen that helps all the different systems in the body.
Beyond all the benefits mentioned above, peppers are also a wonderful source of vitamin B6, which is known to help normal cardiac activity and prevent various heart diseases. In addition, the fact that peppers prevent infections reduces the chances of inflammation and arteriosclerosis, so consuming one cup of peppers in a salad, or some other dish, will significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Because peppers are so rich in vitamin C, they are also known to help strengthen hair fibers and encourage rapid growth. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron more efficiently, and because of this fact consuming peppers, will provide our bodies with enough iron for our red blood cells, which include oxygen essential for hair growth. Vitamin C also helps in the formation of collagen, another component needed for normal healthy growth of delicate hair follicles.
Because of its ability to fight free radicals that damage our bodies and cause wrinkles and reduced skin elasticity, etc., peppers can significantly improve skin health and prevent these various damages. Collagen, also mentioned in the context of hair health, also contributes to skin health and a more youthful appearance, helps the body remove dead skin cells and contributes to the growth of new cells.
One cup of peppers contains about 2.5 grams of fiber, about 10 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake, and is, therefore, an excellent source of dietary fiber that improves the digestive system and prevents constipation and diarrhea. Furthermore, the fibers also help prevent heart disease and diabetes and contribute to a sense of satiety, helping to lose and maintain weight.
Chronic pain in the muscles and joints can cause great suffering and discomfort, and daily consumption of peppers has been found to be effective in reducing it. Peppers are also rich in both vitamin C and vitamin K, both of which are found in significant quantities in all types of peppers, and have properties that help the body not only reduce these pains but also prevent them.
For people suffering from depression and mood swings, it is recommended to increase the intake of vitamin B6, which is found in large amounts in peppers. This essential vitamin increases the production of serotonin and norepinephrine - two neurotransmitters that affect mood and can help improve depression in combination with other treatments.